Nine Emperor Gods Festival
The Nine Emperor Gods Festival, one of the largest religious events in the Chinese lunar calendar in Singapore, is commemorated by the Taoist community over a nine-day period of festival. This year, the event will take place from 15 to 23 October 2023.
The festival participants are expected to adhere to a strict vegetarian diet and regime of ritual purity. Devotees dress in white or yellow, often with their heads covered in white cloth. They gather at designated temples to ceremoniously transport palanquins of the nine deities to nearby beaches to perform rites at the shore for receiving the Nine Emperor Gods.
The series of events includes ‘Yew Keng’ (Hokkien for the Chinese term or procession), a form of celebratory religious parade for blessings which takes place around the neighbourhood.
The Ritual Ships are made of paper and filled with salt, oil, rice, incense paper, joss sticks and other items before being sent out and burnt at sea during the sending-off ceremony. This also symbolises casting off bad luck and negativity.
Religious practices are important to Singapore development, as through promoting an understanding of these festivals and their significance for building community, history and culture and national identity, the hope is that the festival continues to be an important segment of Singapore’s diverse cultural and social landscape.
(Image: Sg Heritage Fest)